After a second-half shutdown of the Duke Blue Devils, the Northwestern Wildcats improved to 1-2. Here’s what Pat Fitzgerald and his players had to say.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald
-Fitzgerald congratulated students for showing up to the game and added that there aren’t any midterms next week, so he expects another big crowd.
-Fitz thought the defense “had a really good plan” and was proud of the young players in the secondary.
-Duke “threw every blitz known to man” at Northwestern, but he thought team handled it ok.
-Fitzgerald was happy about the kicking game. He also complimented the preparation, in stark contrast to the Illinois State press conference.
-Fitzgerald thought the coaching staff stayed positive and “coached the heck” out of the team.
- Anthony Walker missed a few weeks in camp and is finally getting back into game shape, according to Fitzgerald.
-Fitzgerald on defensive line changes: there weren’t enough rotations to keep guys fresh on the defensive line, which is why Robbins came in.
-Fitzgerald was particularly proud of Robbins. Said that he’s not officially a captain but essentially is one for the defensive line.
-”We’ve gotta do a better job helping him,” Fitzgerald said when asked about Thorson’s day.
-Fitzgerald said that Austin Carr exudes success. “This is a guy whose gonna be running companies or be the president. He’s that kind of person...I’m just honored to be his coach.” He was very impressed by his leadership skills and was very happy with his on-field success. Carr had yet another career day against Duke with 6 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown.
-When questioned about halftime adjustments, Fitzgerald said that Northwestern did not make many. He said Northwestern did a very good job of stopping the run (which was true).
-”I’ve got so much respect for Coach Cutcliffe and his staff...they’ve won a lot of football games under his guidance,” Fitzgerald added, as he has reiterated throughout the week.
-“We’ve been trying to throw the ball down the field more. We’ve got to get people to pay for putting 25 people in the box,” Fitzgerald said.
-Fitzgerald said it all comes down to which teams don’t beat themselves.
- Fitzgerald also wished his son Ryan and our own Zach Pereles a happy birthday.
Clayton Thorson and Garrett Dickerson
-“I think I got to stay in there, a little bit...maybe take a hit,” Thorson said when asked about how he wanted to improve.
-“I can’t let someone go out there and hit my boy like that. I just had a couple choice words for him.” — Garrett Dickerson on his verbal confrontation after Austin Carr got hammered late in the game.
-”I knew that I was going to have to be a big part of the offense...since spring ball Clayton and I were really on it and trying to be on the same page,.” — Dickerson on becoming a bigger part of the offense.
Anthony Walker and Godwin Igwebuike
- Anthony Walker said he nicked up his knee in camp and said he is just “starting to get back into it.”
- Godwin Igwebuike’s message to the young cornerbacks: “Now you’re here. It’s just football. Play like I know you can and have fun.”
- Igwebuike said they ran the play with his interception in practice. “It comes down to preparation once again. We ran that with the scout team, that exact play...didn’t intercept in practice. I remember coach was trying to get on me ‘don’t let him get inside me but Ant [Walker] said ‘nah bro, I got the inside, do what you do.”
- Godwin Igwebuike actually called his interception on Twitter before the game:
Thanks for the int— Godwin igwebuike (@AkaGodwin) September 17, 2016
Godwin is Nostradamus. Or he’s just really self-confident.